POLLOCK’S UPDATE: AEW vs. NXT “Super Tuesday” Preview

POST SCHEDULE

Tonight: Super Tuesday Super Review with John Pollock, Wai Ting, Davie Portman & Braden Herrington
Wednesday: Pollock & Thurston – Super Tuesday Ratings (4 p.m. ET)
Thursday: POSTmarks with David Meyers & Bruce Lord with guest Mannie from Pacoima
Friday: Rewind-A-SmackDown with John & Wai (POST Wrestling Café)
Saturday
: NJPW Royal Quest III review with Karen Peterson & Bruce Lord (POST Wrestling Café)
Saturday
: Collision Course with Kate from Montreal & John Siino (POST Wrestling Café)
Sunday: MCU L8R with WH Park & Rich Fann – Loki Ep. 2 (POST Wrestling Café)
Sunday
: The N.W.A. Podcast with Nate Milton, Kris Ealy & Andrew Thompson

Brandon Thurston and I will be live on Wednesday at a special start time of 4 p.m. ET to share all the ratings information from AEW & NXT and react to the numbers. We will also catch up on the rest of the news from the past few days and be taking your questions. The show streams on the POST & Wrestlenomics YouTube channels.

Jack Wannan has reviewed the Out in the Ring documentary, which is set to premiere on Fuse and Fuse+ in the U.S. on November 15.

WWE NXT VS AEW TITLE TUESDAY

TBS’ Major League Baseball playoff coverage has led to WWE and AEW going head-to-head with each side trying to stack the deck for a favorable edge. The result is the most loaded lineup in NXT’s history and an all-star treatment that borders on obsession with defending their night against the rival. All the tricks are being brought out from star power, overruns, commercial-free portions of the show, and the latest with AEW getting a head start with a 30-minute Buy-In show at 7:30 p.m. ET.

What is widely expected to be a clear win for NXT given the star power and AEW being on the unfamiliar night, is utilizing a strategy to win the sprint rather than pacing themselves for the marathon. Given how much Becky Lynch has meant for NXT numbers, John Cena should be expected to draw much more for his first appearance on the series and might have been enough to win the night alone. The mileage with The Undertaker and Cody Rhodes could have fortified NXT for the next several weeks and each one providing a big audience instead of throwing it all out for a one-week ratings battle. But, we know what the game is and it’s not like AEW isn’t throwing a ton as well but they don’t have the resources or the cards to play like WWE does and is relying on high-match quality and the promotional debut of Adam Copeland.

AEW will present a Buy-In on its social channels with Eddie Kingston vs. Minoru Suzuki for the ROH & NJPW STRONG Championships. This same strategy was used in October 2021 when AEW Rampage aired against SmackDown on FS 1 for 30 minutes. AEW used a Buy-In special that night with Minoru Suzuki vs. Bryan Danielson and peaked with 94,000 viewers on YouTube. The goal tonight for the Buy-In would be to tee up a hot start to Dynamite with either an angle, or the entrances for a major match and keep as many people on the AEW product rather than turn over to NXT, but in the grand scheme, it’s not going to be a mass audience watching the Buy-In.

What is at stake is essentially bragging rights for the next 24 hours, followed by mind-numbing discourse online for the same amount of time, and will probably be forgotten by next week. The real takeaways for me include how many unique fans are tuning in tonight and is Tuesday a more viable night for any of the WWE or AEW’s prime programs? Raw, SmackDown, NXT, Dynamite, Collision, and Rampage could all be subject to shuffling on various programming schedules with the rights deals over the next year. While an NXT win will signal a major achievement, it’s impossible to view this as an episode indicative of the brand when this is an artificially enhanced show completely promoted around figures that are not regular fixtures. That said, NXT has seen a major rebound this year, especially in the 18-34 audience and attracting young males, and has regained a standing within the pro wrestling ecosystem that it had lost during the 2.0 rebranding.

The Dynamite ratings will be scrutinized if they are blown out by NXT and there are factors that are both fair and unfair to attribute that to. The show is on a different night than usual, airing against the MLB playoffs on a different night, and facing a lineup of names they cannot contend with. For me, the number that is more concerning is the lack of tickets sold for this show in Independence, Missouri as the week-long promotional push along with Adam Copeland’s debut match is just shy of 3,000 tickets distributed as of Tuesday afternoon. There is a significant softness in AEW’s ticket sales that has yet to affect television numbers but underscores something that has been lost with its ticket-buying fanbase.

A note for Canadian viewers is that NXT will be streaming live on Sportsnet Now as Sportsnet 360 is airing the MLB playoffs. SN 360 will air a replay of NXT at Midnight ET. AEW Dynamite airs live on TSN 2.

The first 30 minutes of both programs will air commercial-free. Tony Khan has tweeted that there will be a “big overrun”.

AEW begins at 7:30 p.m. ET with Eddie Kingston vs. Minoru Suzuki on the Buy-In and follows by going live on TBS with the following matches & segments announced:
*AEW International Championship: Rey Fenix © vs. Jon Moxley
*AEW Women’s Championship: Saraya © vs. Hikaru Shida
*Adam Copeland vs. Luchasaurus
*Bryan Danielson vs. Swerve Strickland – Winner challenges Christian Cage on Collision
*Powerhouse Hobbs vs. Chris Jericho
*Jay White vs. Hangman Page
*MJF to appear
*Timeless Toni Storm on the show
*Christian Cage responds to Adam Copeland

NXT begins at 8 p.m. ET on the USA Network with the following advertised:
*Carmelo Hayes w/ John Cena vs. Bron Breakker w/ Paul Heyman
*Pub Fight: Tyler Bate, Butch & Ridge Holland vs. Gallus
*Roxanne Perez vs. Asuka
*Women’s Breakout Tournament: Lola Vice vs. Dani Palmer
*The Undertaker to appear
*Cody Rhodes to make an announcement

WRESTLING/MMA NEWS

**WWE Raw on Monday averaged 1,557,000 viewers and 565,000 (0.43) in the 18-49 demographic going against Monday Night Football. Raw grew by 3% from last week’s viewership but fell 11% in the key demo. They took a big hit with males 18-34 dropping from 179,000 to 129,000 this week and overall, the 18-34 demo fell by 20%., although women in the demo were steady from the prior week. Adults 35-49 only fell 4% to 358,000 but women in the category such a reduction from 108,000 to 88,000. Canadian numbers are delayed until Wednesday due to the Thanksgiving holiday on Monday. 

The Green Bay Packers vs. Las Vegas Raiders game averaged 17.4 million viewers across ABC, ESPN, ESPN 2 & ESPN Deportes, per Sports TV Ratings.

Raw started with 1,618,000 viewers in the first hour including the opening quarter being the most watched of the night featuring Seth Rollins and Drew McIntyre. The second hour averaged 1,608,000 viewers and dropped to 1,446,000 in the third hour featuring the main event for the Undisputed tag titles. The peak in 18-49 was from 9 – 9:15 p.m. ET for the in-ring segment that included Cody Rhodes, Jey Uso, Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn with 660,000 viewers. (Wrestlenomics)

**Friday Night SmackDown ranked #1 among sports programs that night at 0.64 in the 18-49 demographic. The show topped Kansas State vs. Oklahoma State on ESPN (0.55) and Illinois vs. Nebraska (0.32) on FS1. AEW Rampage ranked #12 on TNT at 0.12. (Sports TV Ratings)

**In Canada, SmackDown averaged 149,200 viewers and 51,700 in the 25-54 demographic on Sportsnet 360. It was #5 among sports programs on Friday behind two CFL games and an NHL pre-season game between Calgary and Vancouver. It was only down slightly from the week prior but this was the least-watched episode of SmackDown in Canada since August 4.

**Paul Heyman spoke with SI.com about all the special appearances set for NXT tonight:

The guest appearances on this show are merely to call attention to the enormously gifted talent pool that is offered to the viewer on a weekly basis every Tuesday night. I would humbly suggest this NXT roster can compete with any claim there has ever been a more significant or more talented roster.

**Tony Khan appeared on Maggie & Perloff on CBS Sports to promote Title Tuesday. He added that they will go commercial-free for “at least 30 minutes” and could go a bit longer than that while adding they’ll have a big overrun segment past 10 p.m. ET. In the interview, he stated that Adam Copeland reached out shortly after Grand Slam on September 20 (his contract expired the next day).

**Next Monday’s edition of Raw is being advertised as the “season premiere” from Oklahoma City with five matches announced, so far. The show is set to include Cody Rhodes & Jey Uso vs. Finn Balor & Damian Priest for the Undisputed tag titles, Gunther vs. Bronson Reed for the Intercontinental Championship, Rhea Ripley vs. Shayna Baszler (appears to be a non-title match), a Falls Count Anywhere Match between Shinsuke Nakamura and Ricochet, and Piper Niven vs. Natalya. Raw will be airing against the Dallas Cowboys vs. L.A. Chargers on ABC & ESPN. Last year’s season premiere did 1,824,000 viewers and 0.55 in the demo with a DX reunion and Bray Wyatt appearing two days after his return at Extreme Rules.

**Pro Wrestling Revolver released the opening round match between Marina Shafir and Janai Kai from the Women’s Grand Prix this past Sunday.

**MLW has added a match between Brett Ryan Gosselin and J Boujii to the Fusion tapings this Saturday at the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia.

**After Bellator 300, there were more questions than answers on the future of the promotion. For months, a sale has been rumored with PFL being the suitor most have assumed would end up owning it. The promotion had nothing of substance to share this past Saturday and Scott Coker sounded resigned to the fact that it’s outside his control and unlike Strikeforce, he doesn’t have an ownership stake. Bellator only has one more show listed and it’s on November 17 at the Wintrust Arena in Chicago (five days before AEW runs the same arena).

Ariel Helwani reported on The MMA Hour that there is a debate behind the scenes over who should cover the costs for that event whether it be Viacom or the new ownership group. Helwani added that it’s 50/50 that the show even happens.

What Bellator has is a fourteen-year tape library, which only benefits a service like Fight Pass and it’s hard to imagine how PFL would benefit from it other than for fight packages of existing fighters it could absorb. Bellator’s asset is its current crop of fighters including A.J. McKee, Cris Cyborg, Johnny Eblen, Usman Nurmagomedov, Sergio Pettis, Yaroslav Amosov, Patchy Mix, the Pitbull brothers, Aaron Pico, etc.

PFL’s deal with ESPN expires at the end of 2023 with an option for the broadcaster to extend, so it’s still a question of where PFL will be airing next year let alone trying to operate Bellator, which it could absorb as UFC eventually did with WEC after operating it separately for a time.

Today, there is nothing official, and leaves lots of people with question marks including fighters and their camps preparing for a card in six weeks, which is up in the air, and dozens of employees with unanswered questions about their futures at Bellator and Showtime. One thing is clear, Showtime/Viacom getting out of the MMA business is a blow to the sport and contraction only feeds the power vacuum that UFC has in the market space we’ve seen that unchecked power leaves fighters with minimal to zero leverage and at its core, Bellator was at least an alternative for those fighters.

**The season finale of Dana White’s Contender Series is tonight at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN+. The card is set to feature six fights with Ramon Tavares (8-2) vs. Cortavious Romious (7-1), Andre Lima (6-0) vs. Rickson Thai Zenidim Bueno (1-0), Connor Matthews (5-1) vs. Jair Farias (1-0), Torrez Finney (6-0) vs. Yuri Panferov (2-0), Issa Isakov (6-2) vs. Marquel Mederos (7-1), and Lucas Rocha (16-1) vs. Davi Bittencourt (14-3).

**The TKO stock closed at $82.06 on Tuesday.

*****
REWIND-A-RAW
John Pollock and Wai Ting review WWE Raw with Cody Rhodes & Jey Uso vs. Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens for the WWE Tag Titles, and Becky Lynch vs. Tegan Nox for the NXT Women’s Title.
*****
NJPW DESTRUCTION IN RYOGOKU REVIEW
Bruce Lord and Karen Peterson wrap up this year’s Destruction tour with NJPW Destruction in Ryogoku featuring SANADA defending the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship against EVIL in a Lumberjack Death Match.
*****
MCU L8R: Loki Season 2 Ep. 1 Review [FREE]
A freebie from the POST Café — WH Park and Rich Fann are back to discuss the return of Marvel’s Loki with a review of Season 2 Episode 1, “Ouroboros”.
*****
WWE FASTLANE REVIEW
Wai Ting and John Siino review WWE Fastlane 2023 featuring John Cena & LA Knight vs. The Bloodline, and Seth Rollins vs. Shinsuke Nakamura in a Last Man Standing Match.
*****
COLLISION COURSE
Kate From MTL and Bruce Lord review AEW Collision featuring Adam Copeland, Bryan Danielson vs. Kyle Fletcher, and Eddie Kingston vs. Komander.
*****
REWIND-A-SMACKDOWN
John Pollock & Wai Ting discuss Friday Night SmackDown with appearances by Cody Rhodes, Jey Uso & Judgment Day.
*****
POST PURORESU
Karen Peterson joins WH Park to speak about NJPW’s October schedule, Suzu Suzuki winning the Stardom 5 Star Grand Prix, Katsuhiko Nakajima’s future, Yuya Uemura & more. 
******
REWIND-A-WAI #140: Predator (1987 film)
John Pollock and Wai Ting review the 1987 sci-fi action film Predator, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jesse Ventura as soldiers trapped in a rainforest who attempt to survive a mysterious and very violent alien threat.
*****

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About John Pollock 5598 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.